It's easy to think of social media as a brand-building tool – something to pump content into when you want to get your name out there and build up rapport. But that's not exactly true. One of the most valuable social media advantages is actually direct lead generation...as long as you know what you're doing. So let's talk about lead generation in social media, and why it needs to be a core part of your client strategy.
We're going to start with Facebook, because it's a very common platform, easy to use, with a robust ad implementation system that shows just what social media can do. Here's what you need to know.
Your Business Page Needs to be Perfect
Particularly in the B2B world, there aren't as many impulse buyers. If prospects see an ad or interesting post, they are likely to visit the brand's business page before they give up any information or make additional decisions. Which means your business page information has to be perfect. The way you name your company, the images used, the contact information you provide, the summary of your business, the top reviews that show up – everything needs to be meticulously created and monitored. Even keywords on your business page will affect organic SEO! So your first step in lead generation should be to conduct a thorough housecleaning of your brand home page.
Posts Can Entertain, But There Needs to be More
It's important to step out of the mindset that social media posts need to be entertaining. That may sound weird, because it's very common advice that posts entertain the audience to inspire action. But, 1) that's more for brands trying to build social signals, not leads and 2) social media marketing is moving away from pure postainment and toward making posts more useful. For lead generation, it's vital that posts and ads provide a promise of more information and benefits to draw people on. Laughter isn't as important. Getting people to think about clicking your link should be a primary goal.
Ad Targeting Is Powerful, and Only Getting Better
Facebook has some of the best ad targeting for smaller companies to use: All the tools are right there, and you can divide viewers in demographics, locations, interests, behaviors and much more. With the right custom and core audience profiles, you can even look for "lookalike" audiences that are excellent for expanding your lead lists. However, it's important to have clear customer personas and good data on your current clients before trying to target ads – improperly targeted ads are a waste of time and money.
Boosted Posts Remain a Powerful Form of Native Advertising
You can "boost" (promote, etc.) a post on Facebook by paying extra. This is particularly advantageous, because a boosted post not only appears more visibly in the news feed (posts getting lost in the flow of new content can be very frustrating), but it can also be targeted to reach new audiences that may not otherwise see your posts at all. This can win both new followers and new subscriptions – and such social native advertising is likely to only grow in popular in the future.
You Have to Know What Your Social Traffic is Doing
Social metrics are extremely important when crafting a powerful lead generation strategy. You have to know how your social traffic behaves, how they interact with posts, and when they do it. You need to have clear records on which ads get the most activity, how many people click an ad but don't follow through, how many people provide information but don't reach the end of the sale funnel, and how many successful sales an ad campaign is responsible for. Collect and study this information, or your lead efforts won't go anywhere!
You Need a Way to Move Leads Off FB and Forward
Obviously a link to a contact form and your website is a good start here. But on a deeper level, you also need a way to download information easily from Facebook and your site into a central CRM system that can gather customer data for the benefit of the whole company. Without this, lead gen isn't nearly as useful.